From Solar Generation - Pilipinas

I know that Sunday should be a rest day given the busy schedules we have weekly but seeing that the climate is continuously changing every second, we shouldn’t be taking a break from taking care of our planet. A little sacrifice and time to take a good glimpse of what is really happening to the Earth and how to help in making the people aware of these things is what we’ve done yesterday until this afternoon. Seeing this tragic scene up close is quite different from what we are informed or in what our current surrounding tells us.

For the past few weeks, we have experienced ‘summer’ which is hotter than usual due to the El Niño phenomenon. We can feel the raging heat but is that all to see through it? To make up for the rising temperatures, we consume a lot of liquid, water to be exact, to quench our thirst or to take a bath once, twice or even more. For the commercial sector, it may be almost have the same types of water consumption but in a higher scale for the use of water is not only for the sake of the consumers but also for the maintenance of the buildings. The industrial sector is a different story for it consumes greater amount of water for the facilities to cope up with the heat and prevent any damage to the equipments and machineries. The question here is, given that the water consumption is greater than normal, is our supply sufficient?

It was yesterday when we went to Angat Dam to serve as members from Solar Generation to help Greenpeace in conducting a Water Watch as a response to the climate change and its current effect to the environment by setting up solar panels and gadgets to supply them electricity and lightings in the camp site. It took us 2hours to travel from the SG warehouse in Quezon City to Norzagaray, Bulacan where the dam is located. When we got near the dam, we can already see the low level of water flowing in the rivers, evident to the dry river banks and lines in the surrounding mountains as a sign of water decreasing. After resting and eating lunch, we prepare to head out to the site. We rode White Fang to the location of the boat that will escort us to the camp site. From that shore alone, the situation appears to be more serious than I have expected.

While we were walking at the side of the dam to reach the boat, we asked the locals about the dam water level, I was informed that it suppose to be at 216m last December 2009, it fall up to 65m now. That is great change indeed. If the water was that high then we have been submerged already given that were already way deep from the roadside. After riding the boat, we meet up with the GP boat team to transfer the supplies and go to the camp site together. Observing the surroundings, we saw the river near enough to see the soil eroding from the surrounding mountains, small islands are appearing and some remains of trees are showing in the water. From their watching, the fall of water is about 1-3 feet per day which is what we also observe basing from the water level from yesterday up to its level early this morning. It was a long boat trip which took up almost 30 minutes from the boat site. It was surprising to see some migrant birds that inhabit the area even in these conditions.

We arrived at the shores which is a long hike to the camp site. There were 2 bamboo huts for the volunteers and a nearby set up for the kitchen. There were exchanges of thoughts and observations from the volunteers and after we delivered the supplies and checked the solar panel set up, we headed back to the base to prepare for tomorrow’s event. The following day, we woke up early to begin our preparations for the media coverage of the Water Watch which is our way of reaching out to the people and help spread awareness of the troubles we are currently experiencing. We proceeded to the camp site before the media’s arrival so that we can have ample time to prepare. Executing our main duty, to supply electricity to the camp site, we moved ahead and installed lights in the bamboo huts and readied outlets in case they needed it. The media arrived just as we finished our preparations and covered the area, asking questions about the dam’s current status and our purpose for conducting the event.

In the end, we managed to point out the issues about climate change, our country and how it [climate change] affects our way of living. Filipinos have to stop living in the illusion that our actions, no matter how small, have no effects on the environment. There are ways to end this water crisis we are currently experiencing. However without the support of the masses, without everyone working together, any plan made to improve the situation will have limited or no success. Our survival depends on our ability to secure a safe and clean source of water. Now that source of water, the lifeline of Metro Manila, is threatened by climate change. If we don’t act now, our survival may rest on a single drop.